Saturday, 26 November 2016

Thought 397: No Money in Philosophy

Although there's no money in philosophy, there's plenty of mon-eye (spiritual vision) to be gained from it. 

People who think monetarily will interpret the fact that no money can be effectively made from philosophy as a sign that it is of no great use or social benefit and therefore an activity of pure self-indulgence bringing no (monetary) value to the world. 

While philosophising can be self-indulgent I do not regard self-indulgence as a bad thing (rather the opposite) because, for one, I no longer identify with puritanical tables of evaluation where life is only worthy if always working, striving and seeking to prove itself in conventional terms.

Moreover, the fact no money is to be made from philosophising, despite the difficulties this of course creates for survival in our monetary system, is symptomatic for me of philosophy being too good for money and above monetary valuations and considerations. 

I would indeed be most suspicious of not to say surprised at a philosopher who charges money for his insights, especially if these insights are to do with truth and morality rather than how to be more successful or popular. 

For truth and morality are not popular priorities for the majority and this majority will rather spend its money, not on hard-won wisdom, but on lies that make them feel better and help them achieve greater worldly success and egoic power. 

This was indeed the operative difference, according to Plato's works, between Socrates, the philosopher who charged nothing for his services to wisdom, midwife as he was to souls pregnant with truth, and the much sought-after sophists (i.e. experts) of his time who charged money for their knowledge to ambitious young men seeking to make a name for themselves in public affairs. 

Plus ça change as they say. 

Heidegger, himself a paid university professor who had to make many an academic sacrifice before becoming free to write what he wanted, was aware of the absence of financial reward for philosophising when he said
"it is entirely correct to say you can't 'do' anything with philosophy. The problem is that this is seen as the final say on the matter. For a counter question arises in the shape of what philosophy can do with us."
In addition, the vast majority, not being deep thinkers, perhaps finding thinking unpleasant and therefore never becoming adept at philosophical fine tuning, see little value in philosophising and its lack of worldly rewards but I am one hundred percent with Heidegger when he wrote in Thinker as Poet
"That a thinking is, ever and suddenly -
whose amazement could fathom it?" (my italics)
Thinking can indeed smack of magic when it influences change to occur with Higher Will (Natural Law) and gives heartfelt energy to others. Not only that but deep thinking - as opposed to superficial blinking - is rare and therefore, being rare, precious. Never feel you are not good enough to think philosophically because you would be surprised at how few actually do so, whether out of cowardice or a lack of imagination.

And it could be legitimately asked whether what Heidegger calls 'prevailing man' has done too much and thought too little, leading to the disjunctive and tortured world we currently live in.